Manchester United midfielder is 'the daddy' of Scotland

Scotland midfielder Barry Bannan has revealed his national team colleague and Manchester United veteran Darren Fletcher is something of a paternal presence in the squad.

The 30-year-old Red Devils midfielder came through the youth academy at Old Trafford some 12 years ago in 2002 after joining the club as a youngster aged just 11.

Since then, Fletcher has made no less than 322 appearances for Manchester United to become one of former manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s most trusted members of personnel.

Fletcher returned to the first team this term following a long spell out with a chronic bowel condition that saw him miss the majority of the 2012/13 season and Ferguson’s last before retirement but the Scot has now found his way back into the team under David Moyes and Crystal Palace youngster Barry Bannan believes his experience is the key to Scotland’s success.

"He's like the daddy of the team," said Bannan ahead of Scotland’s friendly against Poland on Wednesday.

"You look up to him because of what he has done and just to have him back is a big, big boost for the whole country.”

Not only is Fletcher’s return a boost for his country but his club undoubtedly need his presence on the pitch and in the dressing room this term – Manchester United have endured some turbulence in their first season without Ferguson for 26 years at Old Trafford and Fletcher, as a Red Devils since boyhood, is exactly the kind of character Moyes can rely upon to help the champions turn their season around.

"I was young when I first broke through and he was one I was kind of in awe of and looked up to,” 24-year-old Bannan explained.

"He made it so easy for me. It's good to have him back. He's the captain and the leader."

With Nemanja Vidic set to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season when his contract expires, the captain’s armband is up for grabs at United and perhaps his experience and determination, most aptly demonstrated by his comeback from illness this term, could put Darren Fletcher in the frame to lead his club as well as his country.

image: © apasciuto

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch